Each individual’s path in life is rarely linear. It winds, bends, bumps, and sometimes stops you in your tracks. But throughout the journey, there’s a silver lining in the moments of struggle, as they challenge you to persevere, to learn, and to grow.
This is true for the 40 graduates who were honored during the 2020 Midyear Graduate Recognition Ceremony, which was conducted via Zoom on Thursday, Dec. 10. During their time at Gettysburg College, they pursued new topics and perspectives, conducted explorative research projects, opened doors to a world full of opportunity through global study, and through part of their journey, they navigated the trials of a global pandemic.
In his welcome remarks, Provost Chris Zappe spoke to the unwavering determination of graduates, who achieved so much despite the challenges.
“You have challenged yourselves, and overcome hurdles along your path. We know this wasn’t always easy,” Zappe said. “It required you to stretch yourself in new and sometimes uncomfortable ways. Yet, when we stretch ourselves, we often find that we can reach higher and reach farther than we ever knew we were capable of. Graduates, there is nothing you can’t reach.”
Gettysburg College President Bob Iuliano added to Zappe’s sentiments, stating that the pandemic has forced everyone to reorient themselves in a disorienting world. It’s something that graduates’ Gettysburg education has equipped them to do, and it will continue to prove valuable in their future endeavors.
Expanding upon this spirited message, Iuliano encouraged Gettysburgians to never lose touch with their open-mindedness and to always remember how their actions impact the world. To achieve this, he offered three key steps:
- Put your Gettysburg College liberal arts education to good use
- Familiarize yourself with your presumptions and preconceptions and combat them as you move forward
- Embrace difficult paths and uncomfortable conversations
Iuliano ended his remarks with a charge to graduates: Lean into life’s complexities.
“Find order and meaning amid today’s uncertainty. Build allies among those with whom you disagree. Solve the unsolvable by seeing what others choose not to see, and by acting upon what generations before you have long written off as unachievable,” Iuliano said. “You can be different and can be the difference.”
Following Iuliano’s remarks, Julie Ramsey, vice president for College Life and dean of students, recognized midyear graduates by name, accompanied by a slide for each student on screen, which is now available to view and download. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the alma mater by music performance major Brittney Sedgwick ’21.
The annual Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony honors students who have completed degree requirements in August 2020 or are expected to complete their degrees in December 2020. All midyear graduates are invited to participate in Commencement Weekend this spring. Check the Commencement webpages for updates.
By Molly Foster
Photos by Shawna Sherrell and Jason Minick